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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Colder weather gets fish moving
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Lake Lanier dropped and then rose slightly from the recent rains. Lake levels are currently at 1060.88 or 10.12 feet below the normal full pool of 1071. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear to stained. The creeks are and the rivers are stained to muddy from recent rains. Lake surface temperatures have just dropped into the upper 50s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still stained due to lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Bass fishing is getting better and a lot of fish will be moving shallower following the abundant bait as it migrates into the creeks and coves. There are some massive schools of threadfin shad in the shallows and you can bet the predator fish are not far behind.

I idled out from the ramp this week and immediately saw bass and stripers feeding on tiny threadfin shad less than an inch in length. It took me a while, but two baits triggered strikes for me from these actively feeding fish. A 1/16-ounce Rooster Tail would get bit by the fish schooling on top but the jerk bait seemed to trigger reaction bites from fish that were not showing themselves on the surface.

You may encounter shad schools anywhere and they will move around from day to day. We worked a line of about 20 docks with a SPRO McStick and caught multiple fish from four docks in a row where the shad were grouped up.
Cast your lures both down the sides and front of the docks and reel them medium steady. Impart an occasional jerk to trigger additional strikes. Other lures like a Fish Head Spin, inline spinner or crank bait like an ARUKU Shad or Rattle Trap will trigger strikes. Work the areas in between the docks, too!

There are also some good fish moving around the ditches. Fish shallower in the mornings with a Fish Head Spin, McStick or a SPRO Little John DD.

As the sun gets higher in the sky, back out deeper and fish the sides of the ditches with a shakey head, jig or drop shot rig. Use your electronics but be aware some of the deeper fish may not appear on your screen because they are hugging the bottom.

Bluff walls, off shore humps and points and the timberlines will all hold fish this time of year so you can pick different styles to catch fish this week. Jigs, crank baits and spoons are all good choices in the areas.
Striper fishing has been on and off, but some anglers are doing quite well.

There have been a lot of stripers in the pockets and creeks chasing the schools of small shad. Even though these fish are eating small shad, they will also attack trout or blueback herring pulled on flat lines and planner boards. You may find stripers feeding on shad and herring out over deeper water or you may see them schooling very shallow as the trap shad against the shore line.

Pull flat lines behind the boat rigged with smaller trout, herring, shiners or gizzard shad. You can also run planner boards with these same baits to cover a wide swath of water. Run some of your planner boards close to the bank to trigger bites from actively feeding fish.

Casting small buck tails, jerkbaits or other small minnow imitators will score a few extra bites throughout the day. Look for aquatic bird life like gulls, loons, king fishers, heron and other fish eating birds. If the birds are in the area, the stripers and bass should be there too.

Night fishing with Bombers and McSticks has still been good but we are seeing more fish in the creeks and less fish around the islands. Pick your favorite fall areas and give them a try. If you don’t fish out on main lake, then look around lighted boat docks in the pockets and creeks to see if fish are present.

Crappie fishing is good. There are a lot of crappie schooling in coves and in the creek and rivers.
Trolling with small jigs has been a good bet for both covering water and finding fish. Set out multiple lines and troll slowly in areas that contain the massive shad schools. You can look on YouTube for details.
If you are in an area with crappie you can catch them by casting small jigs, inline spinners or even live minnows under a float. Target brush docks or areas with shad.

Trout fishing remains good up in the mountains and on the Chattahoochee River. Recent rains have helped the rivers and streams and will make trout more active. Worms and insects get washed into the water and trigger trout into eating.

Wet flies, woolly buggers, nymphs and even egg imitators are all worth a try if you fish flies. Live earthworms for the spin cast/spinning anglers is hard to beat, but make sure the are you fish allows live bait. Small 1/16-ounce Rooster Tails in bright colors are working very well, especially where newly released trout have been stocked.

Bank Fishing: We have many areas where we can access the banks of local ponds, rivers streams and, of course, Lake Lanier. As long as you are not targeting trout, a live crappie minnow is a great all around fish catcher (trout fishing with live minnows is illegal in Georgia). Fishing with live minnows can be done on just about any budget. A Zebco 33 or even a long cane pole can be equipped with a bobber and small Aberdeen style hook and crappie minnow to catch fish from the banks. Bass, brim, crappie and catfish will all eat crappie minnows. Target areas with lay down wood, docks or even rocks for your best success. Move around the banks to find more productive areas if the fish are not biting on your first chosen spot!

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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